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History of the Jewish National Fund


The Jewish National Fund was founded on December 29, 1901 and has been dedicated since that time to reclaiming the land of Israel, preserving the ecology and protecting the environment.


The “JNF”, as the Jewish National Fund is popularly known, has branches and supporting groups in many countries around the world.  The Jewish National Fund of Canada has a distinguished record of achievement in supporting the work of JNF and has involved the Jewish community as well as many friends in the non-Jewish community.  Its work is non-political and inter-religious in many aspects.  Toronto JNF is the largest branch in JNF Canada and one of the most admired in the world.


The work of the JNF in Israel involves a myriad of activity.  It has planted over three hundred million trees on some three hundred thousand acres, adding approximately five thousand acres a year.  We also tend to an additional one hundred thousand acres of natural woodlands. Over the century of its existence, JNF has purchased some six hundred and fifty thousand acres of land to establish various settlements such as kibbutzim, etc. and has prepared the infrastructure for many small communities, as well as reclaiming over two hundred and fifty thousand acres of land for agricultural use. The JNF has blazed eight thousand miles of roads through mountainous and desert terrain and is responsible for one hundred thousand acres of grazing land. JNF prepares tourism sites, has built over five hundred picnic areas, active recreation sites and regional parks.  JNF welcomes visitors of all nationalities and religions to these people-friendly facilities.  JNF has also being cognizant of the need to ensure access to these facilities by the disabled.


Meeting the tremendous challenge of drought in such an arid environment as is found in the Middle East, JNF has launched a major program to build dams and reservoirs to meet the crisis and is active in carrying out massive drainage projects to prevent flood damage and soil erosion. In fact, JNF has built over one hundred and eighty reservoirs in all parts of the country over the past fifteen years. JNF has also been involved in preparing the infrastructure for new immigrant housing, in particular to meet the needs of nearly one million new immigrants arriving from the former communist nations of eastern Europe and Russia. It also operates five youth camps in environmental-friendly forest settings.


As one can see, the work of JNF is varied but important. While it has been said that JNF is much more than “trees”, we are proud that the tree has become our symbol and that we have indeed planted so many of them and created so many forests. In fact, Israel is the only country in the world, which had more trees at the end of the 20th century than at the building – this is directly attributable to the work of the Jewish National Fund and its afforestation program.


JNF is known as the environmental movement and proudly points to its record of achievement in helping to build a strong, beautiful Israel and environmentally aware Israel.
Jewish National Fund
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